As mentioned in a previous article, my house recently came into the possession of two second-hand surf boards. Without any experience at all, I promised to document my surfing attempts.
What follows could be received as either a comedy or a tragedy.
My mate told me to practice “pop-ups” on the sand. That’s just jumping into a stand up position, much like half a burpy. At this stage I realised I have no upper body strength, but it was passable, and we took to the water.
Paddling out past the breakers was harder than expected because the waves we aimed to ride were crashing down on top of us, but beyond them it was peachy. There are no big waves, and you can calmly bob up and down as you monitor the tide. I was liking this surfing thing. Lying out there with many others, waiting to follow their lead because secretly I had no idea what to look for, quietly surprised at the lack of “dude” and “totally” in the conversation. All I knew of this world was what I had seen in the “Surf’s Up” animation. Of course, I hadn’t even tried catching a wave yet.
I learnt how to sit up on the board, spot and time a wave, and safely evacuate after misjudging it. That last one was learnt the hard way. You see, the boards we were given have no foam or rounded edges like beginner ones do. They are small, solid, and pointed for doing rapid turns. Like any board, they are also conveniently attached to your leg, which means like any board, they will conveniently stick around after you fall off. At some point during an underwater tumble, mine decided to say hello.
I got some bemused looks from surfers while paddling back out. Day one, not even standing, and a hit to the face. I must say though, I was still liking this surfing thing. Adrenaline builds as the wave slowly rises behind you. Then it picks you up, and if timed correctly, it will carry you all the way in to shore. If you’re too late, it’ll sweep underneath and leave you bobbing while your friends glide beach-wards. If taken too early, it’ll scoop you like ice cream and you’ll nose-dive off the front of it and flip on top of yourself. If I’m honest, I prefer the latter – it made me feel like I was actually doing something.
As we trekked back across the sand, my friends “checked out” my eye. I was confused by the fuss until I caught it in the car rear-view. Both eyes were blood shot from the salt water. A royal purple was emerging across the right one. It wouldn’t open, and a solid portion of brow and cheek had also joined in the fun. “Do you think it’ll deflate by my presentation tomorrow?” Ever hopeful. It didn’t.
Okay, so I never successfully stood up. I’ve been back out since and still haven’t. It’s harder than it looks! We lost a board to a rough, shallow swell. It nose-dived and struck sand, snapping in a brutal, jagged line across the tip. The friend riding it damaged their nose as well, with a scratch reaching their eyebrow. The board was very old after all, which is probably why it was free. So now we share one, the smallest one. Taking shifts between determined, failed attempts (or successful in the case of one mate who already could surf), and patiently treading water. In fact, I’m about to head out again now. Practice makes possible after all.
Who knows? Maybe today will be the day! If a cartoon chicken can stand on a wave, then why not me? Success is not the only form of encouragement. Sometimes just choosing to surf the waves and not the internet is enough. I wish you all the best with whatever you’re trying for, and that you may be encouraged in doing so. If you’re looking for something fun and free to do in Perth, then the beach will always be there. Peace out, dudes!